Monday, April 22, 2013

Making movies is harder than watching them

People keep asking me, "hey, how's your film going?"  Or, "weren't you working on a movie a while back?"  The answer to those questions is more complicated than just "good", and "yes".  I'm a very private person, and I've been keeping the details of the production close to my chest (much to the displeasure of my co-producer).  People deserve to know what's going on.  When it's done, the completion of this film will be the most important thing I've done in my life.  This statement might seem sad to some of you, but hey, we can't all be Mahatma Gandhi.

My friends and I made the original Chronicles of Tre when we were 17.  For about two years I've been trying to make the new Chronicle of Tre as a tribute to my childhood friends.  I've started twice, and had all kinds of hiccups and technical problems that have kept me from completing it.  It's sort of a long story that basically shines a spotlight on my own incompetence.  Allow me to explain.

1st try:  My friends Brian and Anton started helping me with this thing back in 2011.  I quickly became aware that they are both better filmmakers than me.  I was under prepared, I was clean shaven and well groomed.  It didn't work.  I looked like a frat boy, not a refuge from the scorched Earth future.  I couldn't accept making another film just playing around on the weekends with my friends.  That's how I made every film up to this point since I was 14 (save for my college senior film).  That brand of filmmaking is tantamount to jerking off.  I need this thing to be special.  I needed to wait until I was fully prepared and scruffy as hell.

2nd try:  Fast forward a year later.  My hair and beard grew out.  I was fully prepared.  We filmed all summer long in 2012.  The equipment I was using was obsolete.  Old camera - old laptop - I didn't even own a tripod.  As we were filming my laptop died.  I didn't have a way to capture my footage, but we kept on filming anyways figuring I'd just edit it at the end.  Some of the shots we were filming were unbelievable.  Then at the very end when I got my laptop up and running I came to realize that we had filmed the entire summer long with the camera on the wrong setting.  No joke.  You can't imagine how this felt.  By this point the film meant so much not only to me, but a lot of the people helping me.  Some of my friends had done days and days of filming in tropical heat at filthy locations.  The failure felt like having my guts ripped out.  I was crushed.  I laid in bed for two days.

I'm not Steven Spielberg.  I'm not going to try to pretend to be.  I'm figuring this shit out as I go.  I'm also not a clydesdale.  Honestly, when I get home from the aquarium it takes a maximum effort to not plop down, open a beer, and just watch anime until I go to bed.  I know that's not very flattering, but it's the genuine truth.

3rd try:  So here we are.  A lot of the footage from round two is still usable (thank God for Brian and Anton).  For myself, I have new, state of the art gear.  My new camera literally has facial recognition software like in a sci-fi movie.  I completely rewrote the script from top to bottom.  My post apocalyptic beard is in full bloom.  My hair is long.  I have an army of of talented people ready to bathe in fake blood.  It's on like Khan.

The film itself is of little significance - we aren't making the The Sound of Music or The Shawshank Redemption - it's a post-apocalyptic samurai movie.  The act of completing it is of crucial importance.  On my life, Chronicles of Tre will be finished in July.